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Scaling up Green Secondary Cities in Senegal

Rapid urbanization threatens to overwhelm city infrastructure across Senegal. In response, the Green Secondary Cities Development Program provides city managers and residents alike with ways to overcome these challenges and build sustainable, prosperous futures.

Urbanization has risen sharply in Senegal in recent years. The proportion of urban dwellers rose from 23% in the 1960s to 43% in 2013. Recent studies estimate that Senegal’s urban population will account for 60% of the total population by 2030.

This growth has created problems as city infrastructure— particularly in the capital, Dakar, home to a quarter of Senegal’s population—struggles to cope with challenges related to the water supply, waste management, transport, access to energy, sanitation, and decent and affordable housing. The problems faced by Dakar and other established urban centers become even more acute for secondary cities, where slums comprise as much as 30% of municipal areas.

Although the Senegalese government has developed the National Social and Economic Development Strategy (SNDES) and Emerging Senegal Plan (PSE) to guide overall national development, the lack of a “green context” in strategies for urban development has slowed progress.

Current models for urban upgrades are expensive, limiting the economic and social dividends they can offer. Consequently, the only way to properly address these problems is through sustainable management of urbanization.

Since 2017, the government has been developing the Green Secondary Cities Development Program with support from the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI). The program aims to improve conditions in 25 secondary cities that suffer from a severe lack of infrastructure and jobs by advocating for energy efficiency, use of renewable energies, sustainable land management, environmentally-friendly transport, and waste recovery. Successful implementation of the program will improve living conditions for inhabitants while creating jobs and alleviating poverty.

“There are many dysfunctions in current city management; e.g., in the management of housing and water as well as others. There must be a green approach to the management of cities,” said Ale Badara Sy, GGGI’s Green City Development specialist in Senegal.“The Green Secondary City Development Program is an integrated approach based on dialogue and consultation in order to develop compact, resilient and low‑carbon cities that consume less space, less energy, less water, less natural resources, and produce less waste.”


This program aims to provide cities with strategic planning tools focused on green growth in order to strengthen territorial resilience, develop climate governance capacities, and mobilize resources for financing bankable projects. Ultimately, the cities will each have a Green City Development Strategy and Green City Action Plan.

With the support of various stakeholders and local authorities, pilot cities have been chosen for the initial implementation phase of the program. Projects have already started in Kolda, Tivaouane, and the newly-built urban area of Diamniadio, which sits on the outskirts of Dakar.

In Tivaouane, the Green City Development Strategy is based on the principles of sustainable development for the city’s influence beyond the country’s borders while consolidating its religious functions.

In Kolda, the Green City Action Plan focuses on the strategic priorities of housing, transport, solid waste, and sanitation and indicates the need for structural urban policies to develop an intermunicipal system and boost the city’s economy.

At the Diamniadio level, the strategy aims to support urban real estate developers in integrating the concept of green buildings to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy in housing.

A key component of the Green Secondary Cities Development Program is the Human Waste Recycling and Valorization Business Model project. This project promotes the creation of sustainable public-private partnerships to develop

solutions for the management of domestic wastewater (Tivaouane), plastics waste (Touba), and waste from electronic and electric equipment (Dakar).

Further, the Development of Local Entrepreneurship in Sustainable Valorization (Waste-to-Energy and Agricultural) and the Fecal Sludge Management Service Delivery project being piloted in the secondary city of Tivaouane aim to strengthen integrated waste management across Senegal.

GGGI has played a central role in obtaining commitments and funding from local stakeholders to implement the projects. With strong local interest in the pilot projects and the government keen to remain committed to green city development, the Green Secondary Cities Development Program is set to expand.

“This second phase scales up the Green Secondary Cities Development Program and adds ten more cities. We hope to have projects set up in five of those cities soon,” said Sy.

“But, ultimately, to be successful, the government and the population have to change their behavior in terms of their approach to the cities themselves and the environment. If they do not, the health of the population and the economy of the cities will be affected.”

Additionally, the implementation of this extension phase of the Green Secondary Cities Development Program will aim to strengthen citizen participation and stimulate behavior change in city residents through the creation of a Green City Young Volunteers Network in each city.

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